The Crown of the Summer Court

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Fanfiction
Title: The Crown of the Summer Court
Author(s): astolat
Date(s): 16 February 2009
Length: 24,773 words, 2:30:43 hours
Genre: slash fanfiction
Fandom: Merlin
External Links: The Crown of the Summer Court (astolat's website)
The Crown of the Summer Court (AO3)
The Crown of the Summer Court (Ebook Library)
The Crown of the Summer Court (audiobook)
Корона Летнего Двора (Russian translation)
Crown.jpg
Illustrations by trolleys
Spring 2010 Merlin Slash Awards winner, Best Action/Adventure

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The Crown of the Summer Court is a Merlin/Arthur story by astolat (24,773 words). In a fusion with the Merry Gentry series of books it follows the tradition of high fantasy elves and reveals Merlin to be a half-elven prince and contender for the elven throne. This comes as a surprise to everyone, including Merlin, and Arthur volunteers as Merlin's champion when it becomes clear that Camelot can not escape elven politics as long as the successor hasn't been found.

Author's summary: "The king sent me to get you," Merlin said, with a tone that implied strongly that he wasn't rolling his eyes where Arthur could see, but just wait until his back was turned. "He said you're to get changed into formal clothes and meet him in the Great Hall, there's a delegation coming from the Summer Court."

About the Story

The Crown of the Summer Court is one of the most recommended stories in the fandom and has an awesome Morgana in a supporting role. All the characters are as close to canon as one can get with such a premise and another reason for the story's popularity might be that the author found a satisfying and romantic happy end for Merlin and Arthur that still manages to be true to some aspects of the legend.

About the creation of Crown of the Summer Court:

I think this story started when I said to rageprufrock, haha, I'm thinking of writing a fusion with the Merry Gentry series of books, and she did not immediately tell me I was insane, even though clearly I was. So this is very loosely inspired by that series. You don't need to have read them, although possibly it is a warning if you have; for those who haven't, be aware that they are mostly a thinly-veiled excuse to write kinky softcore porn about magical people. So, uh, there you go. [...]
I then spent several weeks inflicting this and many revisions of it on anyone unwary enough to come in range: *flings hearts at Ces, Mia, Julad, Terri, Merry, giddy, and gear for putting up with all the iterations*.
And when THAT was done, I might possibly have shamelessly harassed trolleys [...] until she gave me ridiculously pretty pictures. \o/[1]

The Crown of the Summer Court won at the Merlin/Arthur Fanfic Awards Spring 2009 in the category Best Crossover Fic and was a runner-up in the category One-Shot. It also won the Spring 2010 Merlin Slash Awards in the "Fanfiction: Arthur/Merlin" category Best Action/Adventure and was a runner-up in the category Best Epic.

Illos, Fic Trailer and Podfic

Cover audiobook, screenshot. Art by trolleys.

The story was illustrated by trolleys. The four images are embedded in the text and show two of the elves who are the main adversaries, a fight scene with Arthur in his role as champion, a key moment where Merlin demonstrates his power, and an romantic/erotic scene close to the end of the story.

The Crown of the Summer Court was translated into Russian by Etne (translator) and Tokyo_number_13 (beta).[2] While the translation was still a WIP, Nerjaveika created an epic fic trailer based on the Russian translation.[3] The trailer uses clips from Lord of the Rings for scenes featuring the elven characters in the story. The footage in this vid is from Merlin (seasons one and two), The Lord of the Rings, The Fountain, and The Da Vinci Code. The vid won the Spring 2010 Merlin Slash Awards in the category Best Trailer ("Fanvideos: Arthur/Merlin") and was a runner-up in the category Best Editing.

FayJay made a podfic of The Crown of the Summer Court. It's 2 1/2 hours long and is available at the Audiofic Archive as MP3, M4a and in audiobook format.[4]

lim made the fanart In Red And Pale Gold of the work, in the style of the Bayeux Tapestry. [5]

Reactions and Reviews

LiveJournal/Dreamwidth Reviews

The One with Elf-on-Elf Combat. Oh, Don't Look at Me Like That. Like You've Never Wanted to See Elves Whale on Each Other.* The Crown of the Summer Court, by [livejournal.com profile] astolat/[personal profile] astolat. Merlin, Merlin/Arthur Pendragon.

There was a period of about a week after I read this story that I spent seriously considering that maybe I was just done with Merlin. It seemed like this story had fulfilled my every wish and desire, and I didn't need any more stories in the fandom; I was replete.

I got over that. Of course. I mean, for one thing, I haven't even found an Inappropriate Centaur story in Merlin - I can't possibly be done. (And, also, I'm not done with the characters; there's that, too. It's just - until you've found a few Inappropriate Centaurs, you really don't feel you've come to grips with the fandom. And by "you," I mean me.)

But this story is just that awesome. I have been secretly wanting fairy and elf AUs for quite some time (and this despite the fact that at least 98% of urban fantasy novels make me want to stab the author with a knife inscribed with celtic symbols; as with MPreg and woke-up-animal stories, elves and fairies seem to be one of those things that should really remain in the hands of fans). I'm sorry! It's just this urge I get sometimes. I want someone to put on something sparkly and wave a wand around.

And Merlin - well, come on. It's halfway there already - I mean, sharpen a few ears, add some magic competence, you've got it. But - the magic! The tests! ARTHUR QUEEN OF THE FAIRIES OMG! I just cannot even express my love for this story enough in words. (Where is the Squee Font? That, like, contains only hearts and flowers and sparkles and exclamation points? It would make my recs sets so much easier to write. Harder to read, possibly, and likely to give people Twilight flashbacks, but easier. When will font-makers meet my needs?)

-Footnote-

* I should perhaps explain that I spent a lot of time playing AD&D in my youth. The Cult of Elf got incredibly annoying. Ninety percent of new players wanted to play an elf. If they wanted to play a high elf, you knew they'd maybe eventually grow into real actual roleplayers if you could resist hitting them with a Player's Handbook. If they wanted to be a dark elf, you knew you were going to be trying to get the chaotic neutral character to kill their characters by the third game. [6]

Goodreads Reviews

For the fannish reaction to reviews about fanfic at Goodreads see Some Topics Regarding Reviews of Fanfiction Posted at Goodreads
I am not usually dabble in Canon-Era when it comes to Merlin/Arthur (of Merlin (BBC)) fics. I just feel a little bit uncomfortable. I know it sounds strange, but because in the Canon Era, nothing physically romantic actually happens between them, and I know how the story in that show goes, it's just weird in my head.... but this one gets quite a number of recommendations, plus it's only around 27K. So I thought, oh well, I should give it a try.

Story wise, I thought it was good. I enjoyed the idea of Elves coming to Camelot, in search for their new King. The idea that Merlin was the natural-born son of the deceased Elven King sure did explain about Merlin's ear *lol*. I wished the fighting scenes were longer -- all those challenges that both Arthur or Merlin must did, were quite interesting. All in all, that fantasy/action parts were done pretty well.

The romance, though. Not so sure. I like bottom!Arthur just fine. But like I said, maybe because this was Canon-Era, and my head just messed around the fact that nothing physical ever happened between them in the show, not even one kiss, I thought it was just okay -- it didn't trigger any emotions in me, like it can when the fanfics are set in alternate modern setting/alternate universe.

PS: I do like astolat's writing though. So maybe I will check her other fanfics for different fandoms. [7]
Really loved the magic descriptions (especially that tree).

Morgana was fantastic comic relief. Smex scenes were hot and inventive.

All in all: funny, imaginative, well-written.

However, too short to really make a strong, lasting impression. [8]
It was a really unique fic and a story line i haven't ever crossed in the Merthur area. Good job! (and the banter and characterization was great as well as Uthers reaction to everything). It would've been a definite 5 stars if there had been ore chapters as soe areas imo could've been expanded on. [9]
Wow... Merlin x Arthur in a rather canon first season Merlin (TV show) coupled with Tolkien style elves. Now this is what I call awesome fanfiction :)

It has a bit of everything - political intrigue, humor, strange elven laws, magic, hot forbidden romance and even pretty great illustrations!

I'm only giving it 4 stars because I was a bit disappointed in how little Arthur reacted when finding out about Merlin's magic. It should have been a bit... more. [10]
Great little story, well written, true to TV character. Very hot. Loved it. [11]
I really liked the ending. I actually thought it was very clever. However, the reaction to Merlin and Arthur making out in front of everyone was rather subdued. [12]
Wow! astolat has done it again. The Crown of the Summer Court was beautifully written and the characters were well drawn.

It all starts out when the Summer Court, made up of elves, come to Camelot in search of a new king. Candidates are drawn out, and surprise, surprise, Merlin is chosen. Confusion and chaos reigns while everyone at Camelot is both flabbergasted and disbelieving, Merlin included. It was no joke however as much as Merlin wanted to be, and when a champion is needed for Merlin, Arthur is the one who steps up, seeing a mile-long road of opportunities for him if an ally of Camelot sat upon the throne of the Summer Court.

Challenges are set up for both the champion and the candidate to pass, and it is no easy walk. All the while, Merlin and Arthur are busy resolving their sexual tension, and it is hot!!!

I particularly liked Arthur's character. He had a fiery determination and I could easily relate to that. I didn't think I would like him in the beginning- with Arthur ordering Merlin around and so- but he grew on me through out the story.

Merlin was also lovable, as always. He just has this charm that makes everybody want to protect him.

Another thing I liked were the references to other myths and legends: The Holy Grail, The Summer Court (for which I really think is just a metaphor of Avalon) and the elves. astolat weaved all these myths into The Crown of the Summer Court creating a wonderful work of fiction. [13]
I really liked this, which surprised me cos i kept starting it and getting bored after the first couple of paragraphs. So when i finally got round to reading the whole thing and it had funny moments and sweet moments and classic fantasy moments i was really pleased.

it also surprised me that it was so short.

and the illistrations were lovely. [14]
A fanfic about Merlin being an Elvin prince without him realizing it. Before he could make any claim of the throne, however, he has to show his ability before the Elvin Council through a series of tests. Some of the tests pit him against other contenders for the throne. Good thing the rule says the contenders have to fight through their champions. Arthur volunteers to be Merlin's champion. While Arthur is well versed in fighting, can he go against Elvin magic? I like this for the high fantasy. The Merthur romance is just okay. [15]
Almost perfect - it left me just a little dissatisfied because I wanted more. Which, yeah, I know, it's not a good reason to lower the rating, whatever.

I love astolat's writing, I'll have to read more by her. I have never watched the TV show so I don't know how authentic it is, but I liked the atmosphere she created in the castle and the way she depicted the relationships between Uther, Morgana, Arthur and Merlin (and a little bit of Gaius and Gwen).

The way Merlin's magic was used not only to heal and create objects but also in bed was seriously hot and bottom!Arthur felt perfectly natural to me because of Merlin's "evolution", if I can call it that.

Second canon merthur fic - and I'm finding out they really work for me. [16]
This is, without a doubt, my favorite piece of Merlin fanfiction. I recommend it pretty much all the time. So I'm thrilled that it's rate-able on Goodreads.

The things you need to know: Merlin. The things it helps to know: Medieval literature of the Otherworld.

The mythology builds beautifully in this story, and the writing is glorious. [17]
Bottom!Arthur was great, but I couldn't make myself be invested in the story enough. Bonus points for being canon, minus points for the elves. [18]
I tried watching Merlin a few years ago, but I just couldn't get in to it. But Merthur's been popping up on my Goodreads feed for a while now, so I thought I'd give it a try. I was not disappointed!

When I began reading, I was a bit put off by Arthur and Merlin's relationship. They're very snarky with each other. But I realized pretty quickly that that's just how they show their affection for one another. The prince and manservant dynamic was totally up my alley. I guess its like the medieval version of banging the poolboy, but with more feels involved. I approve.

Also, Arthur was the bottom. Hell yeah.

Overall, I really liked 'The Crown of the Summer Court'. It's got magic, elves, politics, some hot sex, and a side of angst. And it's very well-written too. A great way to dive in to Merthur fanfic! [19]
I love how Astolat captures the atmosphere or Merthur, and how their writing flows. What a writer! And this fic is great. It has a little bit of everything really. I especially enjoyed the humor, though it didn't sizzle as much as in For Your Information. 4 stars instead of 5 because overall I'd have liked a little more. Though mostly...feels? Yeah, I think a few more feels is what I was after. [20]
This book has me absolutely enchanted. I don't even know what to say or where to begin to convey my feelings towards it. I do think, even though my Merthur is still in its early days, that I think this may go down as my favorite forever.

The second reason is of course because THIS BOOK HAS ME ABSOLUTELY ENCHANTED.

It is an amazing story but more so, it gives a happily ever after that just makes so much sense. The HEA that I always want.

So, my proper review is to tell you to read this and don't just read it once.

Make sure you can view the pics throughout the story, they are amazing. Oh! Make sure you watch this! [21]
Almost perfect - it left me just a little dissatisfied because I wanted more. Which, yeah, I know, it's not a good reason to lower the rating, whatever.

I love astolat's writing, I'll have to read more by her. I have never watched the TV show so I don't know how authentic it is, but I liked the atmosphere she created in the castle and the way she depicted the relationships between Uther, Morgana, Arthur and Merlin (and a little bit of Gaius and Gwen).

The way Merlin's magic was used not only to heal and create objects but also in bed was seriously hot and bottom!Arthur felt perfectly natural to me because of Merlin's "evolution", if I can call it that.

Second canon merthur fic - and I'm finding out they really work for me. [22]
3.5 stars This premise was good. And it addressed a lot of the issues of the show, like Uther being against magic. It gave us a satisfying ending where you don't feel like either of them got gypped on their destiny. Unfortunately, I didn't really feel the chemistry between them. There was no UST or anything leading up, they were almost too much exactly like their TV counterparts, and then the magic blooms and they're drawn to each other and get it on. [23]
Really great (canonverse) novella. I really loved this one. The only point of crticism that I can think of is its length, it was way too short... Recommended [24]
I feel like Astolat is the father/mother of smutty Merthur fics. It's true, right? [25]

References

  1. astolat. Merlin: The Crown of the Summer Court (Merlin/Arthur), 16 February 2009. (Accessed 31 December 2009)
  2. Корона Летнего Двора (Мерлин/Артур, NC-17, перевод, часть 4 из 4) - закончено, completed 15 March 2010. (Accessed 03 October 2010)
  3. Nerjaveika. The Crown of the Summer Court - Fic Trailer, 01 January 2010. (Accessed 02 January 2010)
  4. pandarus. audiofic: 'The Crown of The Summer Court', 06 August 2009. (Accessed 18 February 2010)
  5. lim. fanart: 'In Red And Pale Gold', 25 May 2009. (Accessed 26 August 2014)
  6. rec by thefourthvine at Eight Days of Happiness: Fairies, May 9, 2009
  7. Amy at Goodreads, December 2014
  8. Ian at Goodreads, December 2014
  9. Zoe at Goodreads, December 2014
  10. Seregil at Goodreads, December 2014
  11. Mamagan Goodreads, July 2014
  12. Kate at Goodreads, February 2014
  13. Miriam at Goodreads, May 2013
  14. Sannah at Goodreads, May 2013
  15. Amy at Goodreads, March 2013
  16. Nina at Goodreads, April 2013
  17. Janine Southard atGoodreads, July 2012
  18. DayDreamer at Goodreads, June 2012
  19. Adam at Goodreads, 2015
  20. Loederkoningin at Goodreads, 2015
  21. Jennifer at Goodreads, 2015
  22. Nina at Goodreads, 2015
  23. Sandra at Goodreads, 2015
  24. karlakolumna at Goodreads, 2015
  25. Miriam at Goodreads, 2015